Father Fears Son Defected under Bad Influence

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Celebrate 2000 Nov. 20, 1967 A daily at events in First Coast history

Less than a month after his son and three other Navy sailors defected to protest America's involvement in the Vietnam War, a Jacksonville businessman mourned publicly and attacked communism.

"It appears I have lost a son," Homer Bailey said during a news conference at Arlington Methodist Church on Nov. 20, 1967. "This gives me even more reason to dedicate my life and energies to fighting communism in any way that I can."

Bailey held the news conference after he learned that his son -- 19-year-old Richard Bailey -- and three other sailors -- 20-year-old John M. Barrilla of Cantonsville, Md.; 19-year-old Michael A. Lindner of Mount Pocono, Pa.; and 20-year-old Craig W. Anderson of San Jose, Calif. -- had appeared on Moscow television condemning the Vietnam War and asking other "young people to follow in our footsteps."

Homer Bailey, who at the time was a reserve officer in the Navy, had not had any contact with his son since the group left ship Oct. 24 after docking in Japan. The four might have been assisted by a Japanese pacifist group, and Homer Bailey feared his son had come under the wrong influence.

"My son is only 19, and I can now only pray for his eventual return," he said.

Homer Bailey assailed reports that an American professor working with the Japanese peace group spoke with the four sailors earlier in November. …